What can Trent Grisham do for the New York Yankees this season?

New York Yankees v Miami Marlins
New York Yankees v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Who doesn’t enjoy seeing an unsung hero burst on the scene?

New York Yankees fans still fondly remember Matt Carpenter’s 2022 resurgence. For some time, he contributed power, contact, and depth to a squad that had designs of making a deep postseason run.

While he may not boast the same skills as Carpenter, outfielder Trent Grisham may be able to provide a similar jolt this season as a nifty utility piece.

With how crowded the Yanks’ outfield is, it is easy to forget that Grisham is on the team. He started the year 0-10 with four strikeouts after being added in the trade for Juan Soto. But Grisham’s defensive ability and occasional pop at the plate could pay dividends, especially through the bumps and bruises of a typical 162-game grind.

What can Trent Grisham do for the New York Yankees this season?

“He hasn’t had a lot of run yet, but there’s no reason to think he can’t be really valuable in a smaller role,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the New York Post. “But you know that could inevitably change at any moment.”

According to Baseball Savant, the former first-round pick ranked in the 93rd percentile in terms of Outs Above Average and the 86th percentile in Fielding Run Value. At the very least, Grisham could provide a steady glove when the game calls for stout defense (although it’s worth wondering who, if anyone, the Yankees would sub out for him).

At the plate, Grisham is far from an “old-school” contact bat. He recorded a .198 batting average across 555 plate appearances in 2023 while ranking in the 20th percentile in K%.

Is it all bad? Not exactly.

Grisham has bashed 30 home runs over the past two seasons and ranked in the 92nd percentile in terms of BB% last year. It’s doubtful that he will ever be a consistent catalyst towards the top of an order, but he does have valuable pop, and a decent feel for the strike zone.

A quick look at Grisham’s 2023 hits spray chart reveals that his 13 home runs were fairly spread out. At the very least, the former Padre can elevate the ball to all fields. Even if he does not match or top his 2023 home run count, this ability could result in sac flies for a Yankees team that has already shown a willingness to play smart baseball in 2024. And don't forget Grisham's power surge that led the Padres past the New York Mets in the 2022 Wild Card round.

In a perfect world, Grisham won’t have to assume a large role at any point this season, and can contribute as needed. But injuries could make his presence necessary. Regardless of how Grisham finds playing time, his defense and streaky power could be useful if he’s able to lean into these strengths.